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Landowner Challenges Planning Agency in Md. Farm Road Case | News

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Landowner Challenges Planning Agency in Md. Farm Road Case

SILVER SPRING, Md. (WUSA9) -- The region's biggest planning agency was challenged Wednesday by a landowner who claims her property value has been steamrolled by bureaucratic nonsense.

Laurana McCants owns property in an African American enclave in Sandy Spring where landowners allege the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission has been arbitrarily standing in the way of the families' attempts to develop or sell their historic land.

Wednesday McCants applied M-NCCP for an address on her parcel which borders an access known as "Farm Road" where other landowners have been denied addresses in the past. She was told by officials that the agency needed 30 days to consider her request.

McCants was later told by M-NCPPC acting director Rose Krasnow and Montgomery County Planning Dept. lawyer Carol Rubin that the agency has no rules or regulations to justify the decision, and there is no appeals process if McCants is denied.

M-NCCP lawyers have argued in other cases that Farm Road landowners have no right to sue because they failed to exhaust all administrative remedies.

McCants and her supporters question how that can be true when officials admitted Wednesday they have no process in place.

"Why can some people along that road have addresses and others not?" questioned Steve Kanstoroom, the founder ofSaveSandySpring.org, which has been assisting landowners. "When there's no written rules or regulations that just doesn't make any sense."

"This seems like an agency that doesn't have all their ducks in a row," said McCants.

Farm Road is referenced in 20 deeds, but it was eliminated from official records when the Dellabrooke subdivision, built in 2002, was approved by M-NCCP. Landowners allege the approval was obtained with the help of intentionally false surveys submitted by Rockville engineering firm MHG.

Dellabrooke's developer got extra building lots and M-NCPPC got a conservation easement with the approval, but original landowners like William Rounds claim their property rights were ignored in the process.

A usable section of the road still exists despite the Dellabrooke development.

Rounds' plans to build on parcels his family has owned for a century have been sidelined for 7 years while he has fought M-NCPPC bureaucrats who refuse to give him an address.

At least three other property owners have addresses tied to the road, despite M-NCPPC's refusal to give Rounds the same.

M-NCCP requires proof that Rounds and other landowners have a right to use the road, M-NCPPC Chairperson Francoise Carrier explained in a recent community meeting.

Until an interview with WUSA9, Carrier and Krasnow were unaware that addresses tied to the road were still in existence, despite the removal of the road from state tax maps.



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